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Four temporary foreign workers in British Columbia test positive for COVID-19

A migrant worker picks fruit at a Kelowna orchard in this undated file photo.
A migrant worker picks fruit at a Kelowna orchard in this undated file photo. Global News

British Columbia’s top doctor says the province has detected four cases of COVID-19 among temporary foreign workers (TFW) who entered the country in recent weeks.

All four had arrived in B.C. on different flights said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

READ MORE: ‘Disaster’ possible if COVID-19 protections not given to migrant workers: advocates

The federal government has exempted TFWs from cross-border travel restrictions, citing their critical role in sectors of the economy such as agriculture.

Migrant workers must still isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

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Henry said more than 900 such workers have entered B.C. in the last several weeks, and are being given medical and social support, as well as accommodations to ensure they remain quarantined.

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“It just speaks to us of how important it is to keep up these measures, to support people, to make sure they can do what we need them to do, and to be able to identify people who have symptoms, get them tested and be able to support them medically through getting over their COVID-19,” said Henry.

At least 19 temporary foreign workers have tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that was identified at a West Kelowna nursery late last month.

The nursery was shut down, and dozens of staff had to self-isolate at home.

Henry said Wednesday that the province has also provided accommodation for more than 100 Canadians returning to B.C. from international travel.

READ MORE: Coronavirus quarantine rules for temporary foreign workers inadequate: Blanchet

The measure is a part of B.C.’s requirement that all people entering the province from the U.S. or overseas to have a self-isolation plan.

Henry said more than 15,000 people have returned to B.C. since that requirement went into place on April 10, about 350 of whom needed extra support to ensure they stayed quarantined.